Navadhanya is a self-styled and relatively new Indian fine dining restaurant in Cambridge.
Service and Décor at Navadhanya
The frontage is rather unremarkable, having the feeling of a house or small office business that has been converted into a restaurant and feeling slightly isolated with only a Chinese opposite across the main road and little else in the immediate vicinity. Inside is of a contemporary design, tables well spaced out (although somewhat of a linear fashion which often feels awkward to me). The lighting is a few lumens just on the right side of “intimate” before becoming too dark. Service is attentive without being intrusive; though there was no check back on the main course. There’s skill and confidence and perhaps forgetfulness – in this price bracket I suspect the latter.
Being “fine dining” there was no poppadums or chutneys involved, which is a shame. Navadhanya has a decent drinks menu including cocktails, and the aperitif experience shouldn’t be overlooked. Poppadums aren’t too good for Benares, for example (nor are smoked almonds). That said, points are awarded for warming the brandy glass at the end as well as having a reasonably priced and accessible wine list.
Food at Navadhanya
It’s very difficult to fault Navadhanya in this area. It has solid write ups in local press and on TripAdvisor, but there are some areas where some minor tweaks would be welcome, in my opinion. The king prawn starter was cooked perfectly, avoiding the overcooking of the shellfish many establishments manage to do and was excellently spiced and wonderfully presented. However, for £14, I personally expected a slightly more decadently sized portion. My friend had the potato cakes which were not something I would personally order but were delicious none the less.
Main course for me was “Kari Podi Thooval”, a lamb curry. It was advertised as “tender lamb sautéed in chef special grounded spices“. It certainly was a well sourced cut of lamb, cooked such as you could still taste the meat against the backdrop of a well judged level of heat; this takes skill. It was therefore a shame that given how skilfully the dish had been executed it felt like the chef had held back a little bit on the other spices. The rice was well executed, the naan a great example of how things should be done, being far from stodgy and the tarka dhal, whilst perhaps not thick enough was extremely flavourful.
My friend opted for the “kebab selection” which was comprised of various things, including monkfish, all well cooked and spiced.
Navadhanya have a selection of Indian inspired deserts which are clearly made on the premises. but alas, trying to be good for January precluded our sampling them.
For the price, given that I can only muster esoteric criticism of Navadhanya, it is excellent and clearly deserves its reputation. I’ve been to more expensive and far less inspiring “fine dining” Indian restaurants than Navadhanya before. Equally, (thinking of The India ) I’ve been to more traditional ones that can rival it too. A few basic tweaks and I think Navadhanya can become one of the greats.
|Price Range||£50 a head, two courses with drinks and service.|
|Address||73 Newmarket Road, Cambridge CB5 8EG|